Even As Dallas Focuses On Domestic Violence, Shelters Turned Away 7,500

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Thousands of domestic violence victims in Dallas aren’t getting the help they need even as the city prioritizes the issue, says a new report quoted by the Dallas Morning News. Mayor Mike Rawlings will present the findings today as he asks the Dallas City Council to authorize more yearly reports on domestic violence. “The question is, how are we going to get better?” he said. The University of Texas at Dallas' Institute for Urban Policy Research volunteered to study domestic violence data from June 2014 through May 2015. During the study period, more than 7,500 victims were turned away because a lack of shelter space. That is about 630 a month. “We're still not meeting all the needs of the victims,” said City Council member Jennifer Staubach Gates, who chairs the Domestic Violence Task Force that helped produce the report. “We've got victims who can't find shelter.”

Four local shelters cumulatively served 1,828 victims during the time studied. That included emergency shelter, as well as transitional shelter, where victims can stay for up to two years in some cases. The four reporting shelters averaged a 95 percent capacity. Dallas police see a reduction in domestic violence murders since a spike caused alarm in 2012. There were 16 family violence murders between June 2014 and May 2015, according to the report. That's down from a high of 31 in 2012. Dallas police have responded to 10 family violence homicides to date this year. Dallas police hope the decrease in murders can be partially explained by their home visit program, in which officers return to check on the most at-risk victims. The goal is to remind victims that they haven't been forgotten — and ultimately, to save lives.

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